Political Violence Runs Both Ways and We Must Stem the Tide
By Amanda Malaski
Let me be clear: the shooting of Representative Scalise is an abhorrent and cowardly act. There is no place for such violence. It is utterly unacceptable.
That being said, in all of the outrage over this incident, there is a peculiar silence towards the daily grind of state perpetrated violence occurring in the United States.
The Flint water crisis is political violence. It has been over 1,100 days since the residents of Flint had safe, potable water. At least 14 have died and thousands more have been sickened.
The AHCA is political violence. Research on insurance and mortality suggests that as many as 24,000 Americans could die each year due to lack of coverage, if passed. My father could very well be one of them.
The constant onslaught of pro-gun legislation is political violence. Representative Scalise is far from the only victim of gun violence. As of today, 6,890 Americans have already died from gun violence this year.
The militarization of police is political violence. 957 Americans have already been killed by police in the United States this year.
The use of privatized prisons alongside mandatory minimum sentencing is political violence. An average of 4,400 Americans die in prison each year. This number does not include those who are executed by the state.
The detention and deportation of immigrants is political violence. Three immigrants have already died at just one private extrajudicial detention center this year.
The war on drugs is political violence. Through 2013, an estimated 10,929 Mexicans were killed as a result of the drug war. In 2016, between 59,000 and 65,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, many of which could have been prevented with harm reduction policies.
Structural poverty is political violence. A 2000s metadata study indicated that 4.5% of all deaths in the United States were attributable to poverty.
The use of extrajudicial drone strikes is political violence. Over 200 people were killed by drone strikes in a five month period in 2013. Over 90% of those killed were not the intended targets.
Using counter-terrorism plans and mercenary forces against Native American protesters is political violence. Thankfully no one was killed, but over 300 were injured by tactics including the use of hoses in sub-zero temperatures.
We all need to be angry about Representative Scalise’s shooting. But we also damn well better be angry about the thousands of Americans dying as a direct result of violence being perpetrated by the US Government and its interests. Even more importantly, we must channel that anger into action.
Join a group like Moms Demand Action for sensible gun safety. Fight for a policy like New York’s “Raise the Age” to stop the incarceration of minors. Volunteer for political candidates who want to end the war on drugs and who oppose drone strikes. Do something. Lives depend on it.
Sources of cited numbers: